Voters in the Central Jackson County Fire Protection District, which covers most of Grain Valley and all but the southernmost neighborhoods of Blue Springs, overwhelmingly approved a $7.5 million bond issue Tuesday.
More than 86 percent of voters (1,519 to 242) said yes to the bond purchase, which will be for building and equipment improvements around the district. The bond purchase, which needed a two-thirds majority to pass, will not raise taxes, as the fire district has a bonding capacity of about $18 million.
Jeff Grote, CJC chief, said he was grateful for the support, especially since the district chose to put the issue on this ballot rather than wait for April, when it would've needed just a simple majority to pass.
“We're here to protect and serve you, and appreciate you turning out to vote,” Grote said. “We have so many collaborative relationships with the community; we don't just sit on an island.”
The CJC District also covers Lake Tapawingo and some unincorporated areas of Jackson County.
Firefighters plan to use the bond funds for renovating and furnishing all facilities and buying two new fire pumper trucks and one ladder truck, upgrading communication systems and technology and buying personal protective equipment other firefighting and EMS equipment. Bond funds can't be used directly for personnel costs.
Slated building improvements include new HVAC systems, and CJC also plans to replace about $200,000 worth of EMS equipment and all of its 34 storm warning sirens.
Grote said that by getting the bond issue passed now, CJC can get 2019 pricing on fire trucks, which saves about $250,000.
“If the board would've delayed until April, the capital outlays would've been at 2020 pricing,” he said. “We try to be good stewards.”